Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rocoto Underground

It came as no surprise to me that there were no Rocotos to be found at the Master Gardeners Spring Garden Fair last weekend. That's okay, I enjoy the quest.

There was a guy selling a huge variety of unusual peppers, but they were are really, really small. I looked through all the trays of peppers and I started to get excited, seeing things that none of the other vendors had. But I didn't see any Capsicum Pubescens varieties. So I asked the guy running the stall if he had any. He said no, but wagged his thumb in the direction of another man standing in the corner who turned out to be Jerry. Jerry and his wife grow Manzano peppers, related to the elusive Rocoto and frequently grown in Mexico.

It was kind of hard to get information out of Jerry, he was acting kind of secretive, glancing furtively from side to side, as if he might be apprehended. He gave ambiguous, impenetrable answers to what I thought were very ordinary questions form me. He shrouded himself in an unnecessary air of mystery and intrigue about the secret society of Capsicum Pubesens. This just piqued my interest. I half expected him to open his trench coat, to reveal a display rack of pepper plants.

I think he was just trying to show a little professional courtesy to the guy whose canopy he was standing under. Trying to make sure he would not be seen stealing customers. I don't think the pepper guy cared at all, he was too busy selling the peppers he had.

Jerry gave me his wife's phone number and I spoke to her today. She was very generous with her knowledge and experience with growing the Manzano peppers, not mysterious at all. I'll be visiting her tomorrow to get a few plants and look at the plants they grow, some of which she described as 5 feet tall in pots. Can't wait.

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